Nov 172018
 

These were choice documents to me. I read them over and over again with unabated interest. They gave tongue to interesting thoughts of my own soul, which had frequently flashed through my mind, and died away for want of utterance.

–Frederick Douglass, The Narrative of the Life of…
 Douglass on Reading  November 17, 2018  Commonplace Book Tagged with:
Nov 112018
 

A few years ago, I had my first-year research writing students work on the Martian rover missions for their end-of-semester projects. The assignment was a hit and listening to their presentations cemented my nostalgic, Johnny-5 style affection for Spirit and Opportunity.

This video is perfect.

 November 11, 2018  Moments Tagged with:
Oct 282018
 

Every society contains its monsters: people damaged or disturbed enough, or misdirected enough, to inflict cruelty on others. A central purpose of society—its families, its schools, its civic and faith organizations, its official and unofficial political leadership—is precisely to encourage the good, and buffer and limit the bad, in what is always the wide range of human possibility.

Thus the harshest condemnation of leaders and organizations is for those who do the reverse: revving up and cheering on the worst in human instincts, which often come out as abuse of the weak and the other.

James Fallows
 James Fallows on Monsters  October 28, 2018  Commonplace Book Tagged with:
Oct 182018
 

The news hasn’t been talking about anything else for days and yesterday there were lines hundreds of people long as the government shops opened. The same lines (but different people) were still there at the end of the day.

The professional worriers chewed the skin off their own fingers weeks ago and were on the news again last night trying to chew on everybody else’s. I think things will be fine though.

Two different references kept bouncing through my head through it all. Neither is surprising or insightful as a reference, in the sense that me making them isn’t insightful or surprising. The two couldn’t be more different, but they’re both great and on topic, so voilà.

The first, Lana Del Ray’s “High by the Beach”:

The second, Kat Williams’s masterpiece of a comedy bit on weed:

 October 18, 2018  Moments
Oct 122018
 

The bugs are gone in the woods and there’s work to be done. So the Beav, me, his sister and her partner all went out to help his father saw two larch and one spruce into 16 foot 8×8 beams. Trees are heavy and it took all of us working levers longer than I’m tall to roll the trunks onto the mill one-by-one. It was good work though and, when we were done and the square beams were loaded onto the trailer, we were happy and felt we’d earned our dinner.

When this guy showed his face after the first cut on a larch trunk, I felt as if the forest spirits were real and we owed them a debt for the wood.

 October 12, 2018  Moments
Oct 122018
 

This spring my garden asked to become a pumpkin patch and I said “sure” because why not? Now months later, the skies are greying, the nights come earlier and earlier each day. It’s colder, frost has fallen more than once and the harvest is finally in.

Pumpkin Harvest
 October 12, 2018  Moments Tagged with: ,
Sep 272018
 

This is a Quebec Government poster hung on bulletin boards around school since the beginning of term. It seems a good found-reminder that, yes, we expect 17 and 18 year-olds to know that assault isn’t acceptable.

 September 27, 2018  Reflections
Sep 122018
 

Imagine: Ted is a gorilla not a teddy bear.

Imagine: Walberg is The Rock and not from Boston.

Leave the rest.

So: these life-long friends have a special bond but suddenly fall on rough times and can’t get along. At. All. Eventually though, they work it out. Yeah, they’re rude to each other, vulgar even, but that’s how guys are together when they’re buds and need to say “I love you” but can’t. And before the credits, Walberg—I mean The Rock—gets the girl!

In this way the film ends: two buds and a babe. Happily ever after.

 September 12, 2018  Movie Logs Tagged with: